5 reasons to go to Hemsedal, Norway
When picking the right place to spend a ski holiday we are faced with a ton of options. It’s a bit like picking a place with a nice beach – just sun and the ocean is not enough, we also want a great hotel, vibrant nightlife and ideally a couple of cultural options. With the ski holiday that is not much different. Finding snow and ski pistes is not the difficult part but what is there to do when we’re not standing on a board?
This winter we have tested quite a few wonderful places to spend a ski/snowboard holiday in (we loved Adelboden and Zermatt in Switzerland!) and today I’d like to introduce another new favorite of mine: Hemsedal in Norway. While it’s a brilliant option for winter, it also offers a ton of things to do during summer season. There is never a bad time to visit this tiny village 2 hours North of Oslo. Norway’s second largest ski area, although world-class, is not yet too well-known outside of Norwegian borders, but this really ought to change, which is why I’d like to share with you my top 5 reasons to visit Hemsedal.
1. Skiing and Snowboarding
Hemsedal is a world class destination for ski lovers the world over. 52 pistes totalling over 45km in length (the longest being 6km) ensure that many professional skiiers and snowboarders come here to practise. Intermedia level skiiers will find a lot to suit their needs here but also for beginners there are many options available for great ski fun. In fact, I have noticed quite a few kids but then again that might be due to the fact that I was a beginner and had to stick to the pistes the little ones use. The winter season here is extra long with lovely white powder snow as late as the end of May when the season officially ends. So if you really love snow, you have 7 full months to enjoy it here.
2. Dog sledding
This activity has impressed me so much that I recently dedicated an entire post and video to it. Hemsedal Huskies is a small group of super nice boys taking you through the forest and over a gorgeous frozen lake (provided it’s frozen when you’re there), always ready to jump to your assistance should you ever lose control over your sled. In summer they offer dogsledding on wheels, too.
Like any self-respecting wintersport destination, Hemsedal has no shortage of fun bars to get loud and dirty in. Start your night with a drink at the recently opened and stylish bar Agstams, where friendly owner Mads Agstam will be happy to create a cocktail especially tailored to your preferences. Afterwards go for a dance to crowd-pleasing pop tunes at the Skogstad Hotell and Elk Bar which is just 10 steps down the road from Agstams. The audience here is a mix of locals and tourists, overall seeming to target a younger audience, even if the door sign says no one under 23 is getting in. Other popular dancy options are Bar(t), Hemsen Night Club (at the base of the Ski Centre) and Skarsnuten Hotel.
Being a city girl at heart the proximity to Oslo is a huge selling-point for me when it comes to spening time in Hemsedal. The train between Hemsedal’s neighboring city Gol and Oslo takes around 3 hours and there are several departures per day (make sure you check tickets in advance as you can save up to 50% by booking ahead). Make sure you don’t miss a day trip there, or even stay for the night. After all, all the outdoor stuff may well leave you wanting some retail therapy. Keep checking in with us for our Travelettes Guide to Oslo, coming soon.
While I only got to experience Hemsedal in Winter, I have listened to many stories about moose safaris, river snorkelling or rafting, all of which sound amazing to me and I hope that I might have an opportunity to go back during a warmer season and experience them all. Summer here really holds countless opportunities for outdoor enthusiast with great options for hiking, biking, climbing and horseback riding, canoeing, fishing and even dogsledding on wheels! For more info on what to do during the summer season from late may to mid october click here.
Thanks to Hemsedal Tourism for inviting us, we’ll gladly return.